In August 2009, Marty Nedjelski launched a Facebook group called the "Daegu Thunder Ultimate Frisbee" with the expectation that a few link-minded ex-pats from around his community would be interested in throwing around a disc in the park, perhaps even making a team. Within 24 hours of forming this Facebook group, over 50 people had joined. Many posted that they wanted to see something more organized, something beyond casual pick-up games. Something more in-line with Daegu's already-established softball league (DSL). At that time, in Daegu, there was also a ball hockey league running directly adjacent to an empty futsal field, that was begging to be played on.
With the keen interest of Daegu ex-pats, mostly (if not all) English teachers, Marty's sport management background and an empty futsal field - the wheels were set in motion. The facebook group quickly changed names to the "Daegu Ultimate Frisbee League" and a short 2 months after the intial creation of Marty's Facebook group - the inaugural season of "DUFL" was underway with it's first game taking place on October 18th, 2009.
In the first season, each team played 8 games (playing each other team twice), and the playoffs were a single-elimination one-day tournament based on regular season fees. Marty felt that to keep the league fun and recreational, every team should make the playoffs. This philosophy has continued through till today. Each season's regular season seed determines their playoff match-up, regardless if they finished dead-last with 0 wins, they are still in the playoffs. The Daegu Tsunami ended up winning the league, as the number 1 seed going into the playoffs. Although they were ranked #1, the Daegu Storm were the favourites going into the finals (they had lost their only game of the season on a default earlier on). The Tsunami were lucky to even be in the finals, after trailing by 4 goals with less than 5 minutes remaining in their first game!
The first season of the Daegu Ultimate Frisbee League (DUFL) consisted of 5 teams, all based out of Daegu. The game was played in a fenced-in futsal field, 6-on-6 with 2 metre end-zones. Yes, that is no type-o - 2 metres! The "original 5" were all based of weather-related names, plural singular. Inspiration for the first 2 names (Daegu Thunder and Daegu Lightning) came from the movie called "The Rundown"
Soon after, Hurricane, Storm and Tsunami formed the first 'Original 5' Daegu teams. The following season, the plural-singular-weather-related team names continued with the first expansion team to DUFL, the Busan Heat. The plural-singular team named continued into the 3rd league season, Fall 2010, however the weather-related morphed into natural-disasters. The Daejeon Pandemic entered the league in DUFL's 3rd season. Moving into Spring 2011, the 4th season for DUFL, 2 new expansion teams entered following suit, with the Daegu Pollution and the Gyeongju Godzilla. "Godzilla" was deemed to be a natural disaster because it was one of the city-destruction features in the popular PC game, Sim City.
By the league's 5th season, Fall 2011 - the plural-singular-weather-related-natural-disaster related team names had ran their course, and the league had expanded beyond its' league name. Marty was decided the new name of the 'Republic of Korea Ultimate' league was more all-encompassing now that the league had teams in Daegu, Busan, Daejeon and now Gwangju, Gumi, and Ulsan. The new league name had catchy acronyms as well, with 'rokultimate' and of course, "ROK-U." For those that were wondering, an alternative league name that suggested was the "SKUFL," the Southern Korean Ultimate Frisbee League.
Marty founded and created the league under the guiding principle of including all skill levels to the game, keeping the sport recreational and fun by drafting and evenly-dividing teams based on participation. Anyone who signed up and wanted to play was able to join. ROK-U is nationally-based league making player location as part of the equation to balancing teams. This equation can be a nightmare at times - rather than a straight national draft, creating teams without regard to a player's locale - however, the follow the participation-based guidelines, making the players have a team and a league that is easily accessible for them (literally, in their city), it needs to be created this way. This always has proven to be a challenge, but one that the league continues to strive towards. It is the hopes that one day the league will be large enough to have teams and players be able to play and travel within reasonable distances of each other. Finally, although the league is recreational league, the league always tries to create an air of professionalism in hopes of creating a unique sport culture and legacy from season-to-season within ROK-U. We hope you will see this professional-feeling in our website.